From punk rock to puck rock

Forget punk rock — Canada’s original hardcore punk band wants to play some puck rock.

Joey Keithley of Vancouver-based group D.O.A. believes his group — which performs in Ponoka on Thursday — spawned a “puck rock” craze that continues to this day.

Forget punk rock — Canada’s original hardcore punk band wants to play some puck rock.

Vancouver-based group D.O.A. is known for ranting against racism and globalization — and standing up for the environment, free speech and hockey.

The band’s been associated with Canada’s favourite pastime since its performance of the BTO classic Takin’ Care of Business was videotaped in a hockey rink.

“That was 20 years ago, and it got a lot of play,” recalled D.O.A.’s singer/guitarist Joey “S—head” Keithley, who believes his group — which performs in Ponoka on Thursday — spawned a “puck rock” craze that continues to this day.

“Now some bands do nothing but hockey songs,” Keithley added, naming Boston’s Slapshot and Vancouver’s Hanson Brothers, which bases its image on characters from the hockey film Slapshot.

Considering D.O.A.’s unexpected contribution to this country’s best-loved sport, and the fact many of the band’s songs over the years have dealt with roughhousing in some form, Keithley feels its time his group got back on the ice, so to speak.

D.O.A. will be releasing a new album this fall called D.O.A.: Kings of Punk, Hockey and Beer.

All of its tracks will be related to hockey in some way — from the band’s punk version of the Stompin’ Tom Connors’ Hockey Song to tunes about beer, boarding and the state of the game.

Just because an album’s about hockey doesn’t mean it can’t get political.

“I think they should have a lot more teams in Canada. Cities like Saskatoon, Hamilton and Winnipeg should be part of the NHL,” said Keithley, who admits he was an avid hockey player himself in his youth.

Admittedly, he was more of an enforcer than a goal scorer. “I led the local city league in boarding and high-sticking penalties.”

While D.O.A.’s other band members have changed over three decades, Keithley’s stuck with the group he helped found in 1978 because “it’s always been the perfect platform to tell you what I think of the world, and to try changing it.”

For instance, the first news item he heard one morning was about a woman getting arrested in Sudan for wearing pants — a sentence that could have led to flogging. As it happened, a supporter paid her fine instead.

“Holy Christ, what a world!” said Keithley, who noted sexism is one of the many societal ills his band has ranted against over the years.

Strangely enough, the balance between the sexes has probably tipped more towards men, said Keithley — and not just because of Muslim fundamentalists in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

Some hiphop musicians have also contributed toward the exploitation of women in North America, said Keithley, who added “the way some women and girls are treated (in the world) . . . is horrible.”

Some of the group’s other touchpoints — warmongering and racism — also remain big issues, said Keithley, who at 53 is also the founder of Sudden Death Records.

He wishes young people would get more politically involved to affect change.

Today’s 18-to-35-year-olds believe all politicians are liars and their vote won’t make a difference, said Keithley.

“Maybe one vote can’t change anything, but they can get involved in activities in their own communities. I believe that change starts locally and goes from there.”

D.O.A. plays at P & Q’s Pool Hall in Ponoka on Thursday, starting at 9:30 p.m. with opening band Annunaki, from Red Deer. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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